Corn and Feta Empanadas

July 26, 2012

I have been having some serious wonderlust lately. It’s a serious problem. I feel like it mine as well be 20 degrees out…this heat makes me feel just as claustrophobic as the freezing nights of January. It makes me long for cool breezes, sweaters, and hot apple cider. I had such a long list of camping destinations this summer and I fear we won’t be able to get to any of them if these constant heat waves don’t break! I need some ‘smores and waterfall adventures in my life ASAP.

Well, it is SUPPOSE to rain here all day…cross your fingers! Sadly, it has been so dry that the local crops have been growing at snail pace which means we didn’t get a CSA box this week! It’s a total bummer. This means no fresh sage or summer squash this week. Or no beautiful drive into the country to pick up our ‘goodie box’ full of delicious surprises. Ah, oh well. It does also mean that we will get to do it for an extra week in October but still….

Anyhow, we still have a few leftover veggies from last week’s crop (and we do live two blocks from the local co-op so I really shouldn’t complain that much). We get LOADS of corn on the cob every week (go figure! What else is Indiana known for?). This was a perfect recipe to use up the leftover 7 cobs.

This was my first time ever tackling empanadas but it was surprisingly easy. Imagine calzones but without the hassle of using yeast dough (no kneading, rising, etc). It was fantastic. The dough had to chill so I was able to make the filling in the mean time and this probably didn’t take more than 20-30 minutes (plus cooking time). I grew up enjoying my step-mom’s empanadas which were always filled with apples, cherries, or blueberries. I feel like I could never top their sweet delicious flakiness so I decided to go in the opposite direction. I made these savory ones knowing they would be nothing like hers but being able to claim them as my own (and not compare them!).
Anyhow, this post has become very wordy. I am going to end saying one last thing about these empanadas. The filling was AMAZING. Next time I decided to make a corn side for a potluck or family gathering, I am going to just make this filling (corn + feta = oh so delicious). I am telling you this as a warning so you don’t eat all of the filling before you manage to fill all the insides!

Corn and Feta Empanadas

Adapted from The Kitchn
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cold water, divided

 

For the Filling:

  • 7- 8 ears of corn, boiled until softened (or about 3 1/2 cups frozen)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

 

Start by prepping the dough: I made the dough by hand but feel free to use a food processor if you have one. Place the flour, salt, and chopped butter in a bowl. Use your washed hands to work the butter into the dried ingredients until coarse. Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Add in the water/egg mixture a little bit at a time and mix with your hands. Repeat until the dough has formed a stiff ball (you may not need all the water for this).

Divide into two parts and wrap in foil or parchment paper. Stick in the fridge to chill while you prep the filling.

To make the filling: heat olive oil over medium in a large skillet. Add in the corn and cook for about 5 minutes. Next, add in the garlic, mustard, milk, lime juice, paprika, sugar, and salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in the feta.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. I suggest just making it as thin as possible (probably about a 1/2 in thick but this all depends on personal preference). Use a small tea saucer as a template to cut out a circular hole.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and fill with about 2 tablespoon of the corn/feta mixture. Use your finger to rub a tiny bit of water on the outer edges of the dough (to make it sticky) and fold in half. Make indents with a fork to insure the empanadas are sealed. Repeat with the rest of the dough/mixture.

Cook for 15 or so minutes (it took mine about 22 minutes but my oven seems to take longer than most..)

Enjoy as an appetizer or as a main with a big salad!

Blueberry Limeade Cocktail

July 24, 2012

And it’s time for another cocktail recipe! I have really been spitting them out lately, huh? After posting recipes for both Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch and Strawberry Mint Wine Coolers last week, I am back with a new one!

We had a little “house-warming” type potluck last Friday which gave me an opportunity to make a few appetizers and drinks. I tend to lean towards sangria when it comes to making drinks for potlucks- it’s what my Ma always made for summer parties and it’s the main alcoholic drink that I am craving come August. However, we only had an hour to prep for the party (between work and party time) so I decided to pick out something a bit less labor intensive (cutting up fresh fruit adds up!). This cocktail was perfect because I was able to make the blueberry simple syrup the night before so I just had to combine everything in a pitcher right before the party. That made this drink totally stress free and gave me a much better mind set to just sit back and enjoy it!

Well, as usual, I took out my camera with intentions of taking pictures during the party but completely forgot about it as soon as people started showing up. Here is a snap shot of me holding the yummy cocktail (half the batch- this stuff made a lot!) before everyone arrived.

It’s kind of weird posting a picture of myself on my blog! I am usually always the one behind the camera!

Anyhow, if you aren’t planning to entertain anytime soon, you can definitely whip this blueberry syrup up and then store it in the fridge. It’ll be perfect to bring out when you need to whip up a cocktail for yourself after a looooong day of work.

 

PS Use cane sugar to make vegan!

 

Blueberry Limeade Cocktail

For the Blueberry syrup:

  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

 

For the cocktail:

  • 2 liter of seltzer water
  • a bottle of gin (about 700mm/24 fluid ounces)
  • 1/2 pint blueberries (for garnish)
  • Ice

 

To make the blueberry syrup: Place the 1/2 pint of blueberries in a small sauce pan and use the back of a wooden spoon to mash them as much as possible. Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and stir for ten minutes (or until a super deep blue/purple forms). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stick in an air tight container and in the fridge until chilled or ready to use.

To make the cocktail: In a large pitcher, combine the seltzer water, gin, and blueberry simple syrup. Serve over ice in fancy glasses!

Look at that color!

Moody Monday: Summer Banner

July 23, 2012

Good afternoon. I am going to keep this short because I have been feeling under the weather the past few days and am not the most chipper I have ever been.

Anyhow, I FINALLY got around to making a more summery banner (it only took until the end of July!). It’s super similar to my old one but just has a picture from a lake picnic instead of from the winter waterfall picnic. What can I say? I loooooove picnics and the whole idea that surrounds them. The concept of eating outside while enjoying a beautiful scene and relaxing with some of your favorite people…makes me very glad to have a picnic memory be the first thing people see when they open my blog up!

Anyhow, here are a few more pictures from the weekend. Nothing in particular…a new banner I made, a cocktail concoction (hope to have the recipe up later this week), farmers market, and lake supplies. A little bit from everything I did this weekend!

 

Summer Squash Gratin

July 19, 2012

Here is a spectacular example of why the weekly CSA box is perfect for me. I never buy yellow squash- I am a total zucchini nut and don’t usually stray. However, we received five summer squashes in our box last week so I was forced to whip up a yummy recipe with them. And let me tell you, this was such a surprising and wonderful dish! Mmmm. (Although, let’s be honest- when is anything lathered in cheese and buttery crackers bad?)

You can easily enjoy this as a filling main or have it as a side to a bbq. It’s also super versatile so feel free to subsitute any kind of cheese you would like!

 

 

Not much other news here- it’s my Ma’s bday (so glad I remembered…unlike for my brother’s birthday last week…) but I won’t be spending it with her (4 hour difference is just enough to keep us from getting together on a regular basis). But they will be coming down to see our new house next weekend which I am oh so excited about!

 

Summer Squash Gratin

  • 4 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 sleeve of ritz crackers, crushed
  • salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium. Add the squash and onions and saute until soft (about 10 minutes or so).

Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a casserole dish (I used a 2 gallon dish) and top with crushed crackers.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is browned.

Serve warm as a side to your grilled goods or as a filling main dish.

 

 

Lake Dinner Picnic

July 18, 2012

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As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, we went on a lovely dinner picnic last Thursday. It was nice because we have been so busy with moving and getting our house organized that we haven’t been taking that much time to just chill out and enjoy summer. Plus, this heat wave has been making it awfully hard to want to hike to the lake when just standing in it makes you sweat and uncomfortable. That’s okay though because it’s made us get creative with our usual summer activities (like go at sunset instead of at midday). Anyhow, it was wonderful to just sit on the rocks and watch Tuko/Taco play in the water as the sun went down.

;

This was an impulse picnic so we just packed up a few things that we had around the kitchen. I whipped up some deviled eggs (so simple yet such a perfect summer staple), backed an array of sliced strawberries, brie, and sliced baguette, and then had Wyatt whip up some Nutella and Strawberry sandwiches. I was a little stressed that I didn’t have more time to plan our a menu but it ended up being perfect finger food for an impromptu adventure!

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I am not even sure what we did for entertainment before we had Tuko. I really enjoy watching him love on the lake and get excited about being free to run and explore.

Hope everyone is making the most out of their summer and taking a little time to enjoy their food outside and stick their feet in the water!

Italian-Style Stuffed Tomatoes

July 17, 2012

So I can’t believe I haven’t told you guys yet but we decided to buy a CSA share! Last week we picked up our first CSA box from Stranger’s Hill Farm. Oh my god- what an exciting experience! I felt like a little kid headed to Discovery Zone. After work on Thursday, Wyatt and I drove out into the country (which really is only 6 miles from our house- hellloooooo Midwest) to pick up our first share from the farm. Being a locavore and produce enthusiast, this was too cool to see the farm from which my organic produce would be coming from each week. And I love the fact that you never know what you are going to get…it’s like a surprise goodie bag for foodies!

Anyhow, we got loads of goodies in our box for the first week: kale, tomatoes, summer squash, sun flowers, basil, and so much corn on the cob (hey, it is Indiana!). I am really hoping this will push new cooking limits as well because I have to find new recipes to use ingredients I wouldn’t usually purchase (I usually stick to spinach so kale was a nice challenge for me!).

Well, I am telling you this because the first recipe I tackled with our CSA produce were these stuffed tomatoes. I was a bit skeptical about wasting the insides of the tomatoes since they are sooooo fresh and delicious but the breadcrumb stuffing was a well suited replacement. And to be completely honest, those insides weren’t wasted because they ended up being munched down on before I cleaned up the cutting board.

PS- Omit the Parmesan to make vegan!

 

 

Italian-Style Stuffed Tomatoes

  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 8 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Salt/Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut an inch circle off the top of the tomato and scoop out the inside with a small spoon. If the tomato is wobbly, cut a tiny bit off the bottom so that it stands. Then, place in a greased baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Fill the tomatoes with the mixture and drizzle olive oil on top of each.

Cook for about 12 minutes or until the breadcrumbs have become crispy on the top. Season with salt and pepper and top with the rest of the Parmesan.

Serve warm as an appetizer for a low maintenance grilling session or a fancy Italian dinner!

 

Moody Monday: Sunburns and Live Music

July 16, 2012

While everyone was at Pitchfork this weekend, I managed to get my own dose of music and sun: we saw King Tuff on Friday followed by Wyatt’s band playing on Saturday followed by an all day lake excursion on Sunday. It was a really busy but enjoyable weekend.

 

 

Although it is only Monday morning, we are already starting to prep for next weekend. I think we are going to finally have our house warming party on Friday which means the next couple of evenings will be filled with cleaning, rug searching (so much hardwood- so few rugs!), and party prep (oh! I LOVE recipe searching for appetizers!).

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and are ready for a full week of recipes supplied by yours truly!

Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch

July 13, 2012

 

Here are two preview pictures of a dinner picnic that Wyatt, Taco (/Tuko), and I went on last night. We found a new spot on the lake that is absolutely gorgeous and super secluded (don’t get me wrong- I love our usual spot where we know we will run into dozens of friends to swim with but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and find a peaceful place that is your own). I hope to post a full spread about the picnic once I get around to editing all the pictures (hopefully early next week).

 

Anyhow. Let’s talk about cocktails.

 

And here is my SECOND cocktail recipe for the week! I think that means I can officially put a line through my summer goal of experimenting with new drinks (don’t worry- that doesn’t mean I am done with cocktails for the summer..just makes me feel good about knocking something off my list).

I actually made a virgin version of this the first time and was so in love with it that I made it again (this time with champagne) the next evening! We have been having people over almost every other night to show friends our new house which means non-stop cocktail parties! Wooohooo!

 

 

Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch

  • 4 peaches, pits removed
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peach nectar
  • 1 bottle of champagne (or fizzy water if you want to go virgin-style)

 

Blend together the peaches, sugar, vanilla, and nectar in a blender. Mix in the champagne and serve with your cutest vintage pitch and loads of ice!

Done.

 

I bet these would be even cuter with a small vanilla bean garnish! I took the pictures in a hurry since I whipped these up for guests but feel free to add your own character to them!

Berry and Pecan Summer Salad

July 12, 2012

If any benefit that has come from the previous heat wave, it is that it was too hot for me to crave anything but a huge, juicy salad. The thought of greasy french fries and the sluggish afternoon they would lead to in this 100 degree weather makes my stomach twist.

From years of salad experimenting, I’ve discovered the key to a really satisfying salad is as follows:

Greens (spinach, iceberg, kale, etc) + a sweet (usually fruit- fresh or dried) + a savory (nuts or baked tofu) + veggies (everything is better with veggies) + light salad dressing (to bring the flavors out but not over bear it).

I have been playing around with many variations on these combination a whole bunch recently and this Berry Pecan salad is probably my favorite one so far. The light honey vinaigrette brings out all the veggie fresh flavors and the peach/blueberry duo adds beautiful color and just enough sweet to tame the salty feta.

I am not going to put exact measurements for the contents of the salad because that is all up to you and what you enjoy. Feel free to experiment and swap out whatever you have on hand!

PS-  Substitute the honey for agave nectar and omit the feta to make it vegan!

Berry and Pecan Summer Salad

  • Mixed Greens assortment (mine was just from a farmer stand)
  • Blueberries
  • Sliced Peaches
  • Chopped Pecans (bet it would be even better if you roasted them before hand!)
  • Feta
  • Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion (I soaked the slices in water for about 15 to tame the flavor – it works great!)

For the Honey Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt/Pepper

Whisk all together in a small bowl and pour over salad.

Veggie hotdog dressed All American Style + Summer Salad = Mmmmmmm.

Strawberry and Mint Wine Cooler

July 11, 2012

Now that the heat wave is officially over (fingers crossed), it’s time to pull out your favorite recliner into the yard, pick up an alcoholic drink, and station yourself in the yard with all those back issues of ‘Vegetarian Times’ for the next month. Oh wait, or is that just something I do?

One of my summer goals was to experiment with new cocktails. I’ve enjoyed Tequila Sunrises and Dark & Stormys at the bars but what about experimenting at home? It’s already July and I’ve posted about…ONE cocktail. Not okay. Come on, get with it! To catch up for lost time I made TWO cocktails this weekend and am oh so excited to show them with you!

This simple wine cooler was something super easy that I made to spice up the plain white wine I was indulging in. Really, it’s not even a cocktail…but just a fun way to jazz up your drink. Heck, you could use sparkling water or sprite or champagne (oh!) instead of the white wine.

 

Strawberry Mint Wine Cooler

  • 1 bottle of your favorite white wine
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • a handful of mint leaves, torn slightly (to release extra flavor)
  • 1 cup carbonated/seltzer water (to make it fizzzzy and refreshing!)

Combine all ingredients in a pitch and serve over ice. Enjoy on your porch couch or hammock while watching your amusing puppy play in the yard.

Blog Nerd

July 10, 2012

My apologies for two posts in a row without a recipe but since my internet is still in limbo at our new house, I am forced to the limits of my cellphone. Ah well, this gives me an excuse to mix it up and get outside of my comfort zone with posts not directly related to food.

Anyhow, so as I’ve mentioned many times…I am a bit of a blogging nerd. I absolutely love learning blogging tips and reading other people’s perspectives on the blogging world. Even if I take a class and only learn one or two things, I find it very rewarding. Heck, it is just awesome to see people get enthusiastic about the same things I am enthusiastic about!

A while back I took Elsie’s blog class and then I took Blogging 2.0 last month. However, now that Blogging 2.0 is over…I am already on the look out for more blogging classes! That is what led me to coming across ALT design classes. The cool thing about these classes is the fact that they are super affordable and each topic has a different teacher so you can get a wide array of perspectives on different aspects.

And guess what!? Bing is offering to give you classes for free through their campaign here. Why would you NOT take free classes?

I am so excited to take:

Graphic Design for Bloggers
How to Use Illustrations to Make Your Brand Yours
Content is King

Moody Monday: Extra Extra Long Weekend

July 9, 2012

Well, I hope everyone had a fantastic previous week and a great 4th of July. After five wonderful days of sleeping in, lying around the house, and getting to know my new kitchen…it is back to work. Ah, oh well.

I may still be posting a little less this week because we are still lacking in internet at our new house and I don’t always feeling like trekking my laptop down to the local coffee shop (although my bike has a little basket that fits my laptop perfectly so I really should not be complaining). This is such a shame because I made soooo many yummy things over my long vacation and I cannot wait to share them with you!

 

Here are a few snapshots from the long weekend: We watched the 4th of July fireworks in a big ‘ol, wide open, corn field (ooooh, Indiana). Also, Tuko and I indulged in many afternoon naps on our new couch so that we could enjoy the outsides late at night when it was cooler. Oh, and lastly that is my tomato plan with its first few signs of color! Yay!!

Well, I hope everyone has a great week ahead and I will hopefully be posting some delicious recipes in no time!

Vegan Blueberry and Peach Cobbler Cake

July 6, 2012

I am feeling a bit off because I am writing you from my favorite coffee shop, Soma, instead of my usual spot; this is because we are officially moved into our new home and are currently without internet. But really, it is okay because Soma littered with inspiration: from its Iced Chaikovsky (Chai + Coffee), maps paper mached all over the walls, and TV fish tanks- it is nothing short of a creative mecca.

Speaking of our new home being without thing…this is officially day 6 of my new life without a microwave. It has been going very well so far. Wyatt and I have decided to try to “untrain” ourselves from nuking thing in the microwave (see why here) and instead turn to the oven/on the stove top to warm things up. Wyatt was not happy about his coffee going cold the other morning (ohhh, the drawbacks of using a french press) but if that ends up being our biggest problem then I think we shall survive.

Oh, Yes! And back to the recipe! I decided to try this cobbler cake instead of a regular cobbler because we were having people over for a grill out and my thought was that it would be way easier for guests to just grab a square instead of messing with scooping a cobbler into bowls and getting spoons and what not. It was a huge success! The stuff was REALLY REALLY delicious. If possible, I think it may have been even better the next day because the humidity is so high in the Midwest right now that it made the cake moist enough to melt in your mouth. Ah, heaven!

And totally feel free to mix in whatever fruit you’d like or have on hand. I adapted this from ButterMeUpBrooklyn and she didn’t even specify a fruit to use.

Blueberry and Peach Cobbler Cake

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons earth balance, cut into chunks
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries (I used fresh but I am sure you can use frozen as well)
  • 1 peach, pitted and cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and lemon juice. Set aside and let it curdle (you are making vegan buttermilk right now!) for about 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinmamon, and nutmeg together. Toss in the Earth Balance and use your fingers to work into the dry ingredients. Next, fold in the fruit. And finally, fold in the buttermilk just until everything is combined (you don’t want to over mix!).

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for about 3o minutes or until you can stick a tooth pick in the center and it comes out clean. Sprinkle the top with the brown sugar.

Let cool and then slice into squares.

Serve to all your friends and watch at how excited they are about your new twist on cobbler!

June Wrap Up

July 2, 2012

Well Mondays are when I usually post about being moody …but let’s be real: I have a TWO day week since my company is giving us Wednesday through Friday off for the 4th of July… so do I really have that much to complain about? I think not.

Instead, since July snuck up on us over the weekend let’s have a June Wrap up instead!

My favorite posts from this past month:

1. I am a picnic fanatic and had soooo much fun enjoying these Southwestern Veggie Sliders with Avocado Mayo while soaking up some fresh air on a lovely dinner picnic with my puppy and boyfriend

2.I am not sure where you live but this 100 degree weather refuses to let up over here in Bloomington, Indiana. Popsicles like these Berry Mango Yogurt Pops are the only things keeping me cool when I attempt to adventure outdoors.

3. Oh! My adventure with this Summer Potato Salad was pure bliss! Potato salad just screams summer and this was a great way to kick off our first grill out of the season!

4. Pizza Pizza Pizza. I cannot escape it no matter how bad I tell myself it is! I’ve come to accept this and have at least turned to making my own pizza so that I know exactly what goes into it. This Savory Breakfast Pizza was part of a two segment post that also included yummy Blueberry Lime Pizza.

In other news, June was ridiculously busy with us moving into our new house (which we are still not completely settled into) and being out of town for almost every weekend.

Also, I managed to learn a lot from my Blogging 2.0 class (which ends this week!) and can’t wait to start applying what I learned to VV.

And onto July! What to expect? Well I am hoping to spend July settling into our new place; this means starting to make lots of new memories at our new home in the form of cocktail parties, movie nights, and creative time in our new studio. I am very excited for things to calm down around here so we can enjoy the simple pleasures of summer (now if only this 100 degree weather would calm down a bit…).

 

Summer Vegetable Calzones

June 28, 2012

Oh! Do you remember those delicious pizzas I made here? Well, I froze the rest of the dough and made calzones out of it yesterday! It was oh so yummy and a great way to get versatile with the dough. I don’t know about you guys but we eat pizza A LOT over here so it’s nice to  mix it up. However, since I stuck eggs and blueberries on top of our pizzas last week, I promised Wyatt that I would keep these simple. BUT believe me- next time I will be throwing in pesto, potato slices, feta, thyme, and gouda! Not a doubt in the world.

In non-food related news, we are ALMOST moved into our home and are shooting for Sunday to be our official “all moved in” date (if this 100 degree weather subsides). Honestly, we just have a bunch of clothes and plants to transfer to the place and we are set. We even slept in our new bed for the first time last night- it was like we were at a slumber party because the place does not feel like home yet. Exciting (but kind of scary!) stuff going on around here.

Summer Vegetable Calzones

Makes 4

  • 1 Pizza Dough
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 cups mozzerella cheese
  • 1 yellow zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

If you are using dough that you froze, make sure to take it out of the fridge at least four hours before and cover it in an oiled bowl. Set it in a warm place to rise and do it’s thing.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute. Next, add in the onion, pepper, and zucchini and sauté until the vegetables are tender (I cooked them for about ten minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Use a floured surface and rolling pin to roll out 4 circles (or ovals). Divide the veggie mixture into 4 parts and make a line in the center of each dough piece with them. Next, do the same for the sauce, basil, and cheeses. Finally, fold over the dough and seal by pressing a fork along the edges. I then rolled the edges to make them look pretty but it does not matter as long as it’s sealed.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy warm and gooey!

Quinoa Primavera

June 26, 2012

As an attempt to cure my pizza hangover (symptoms included but were not limited to lethargy, lack of desire to wear ‘going out’ clothes, food baby, etc), I decided we need a healthy dinner to counteract all the over eating lately.

This recipe was my answer. It’s a rather weird one because it basically replaces pasta with quinoa to create a “healthified” twist an Italian classic. So why quinoa, you ask? Well it’s considered the “superfood” of grains (it is a…seed?) because it is a complete protein (contains all the essential amino acids), has twice as much fiber as other grains, and is low in fat. And, if that doesn’t sell you then maybe it’s light texture and quick prep time will win you over!

Regardless, this was a super easy and delicious recipe that I managed to whip up in about 20 minutes. To make it even healthier (and vegan!) feel free to omit the cheese (but that will compromise the slight creaminess that the cream cheese gives it.)

Also, it made for delicious leftover to bring to work the next day!

 

Quinoa Primavera

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3 cups zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup orange pepper, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan

 Start by bringing the vegetable broth to a simmer. Cook quinoa for 15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese and basil. Cover and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Add in the garlic and saute for about a minute. Next, add in the zucchini, onion, and pepper and cook until very softened (I did mine for about 15 minutes but you can judge it on how crispy or softened you like yours!). Season with salt and pepper and add into the quinoa mixture.

Serve warm with some delicious rose sangria and a baguette.

Moody Monday: Move In Time

June 25, 2012

Why hellooooooooooooo, Monday….not gonna lie, I was not prepared for you! We spent all weekend moving (drove 10 hours between Friday and Saturday to pick up furniture in Chicago) and I feel like I have been going non-stop since we got the new place two weeks ago!

Anyways, no need to complain! I love it and I really do enjoy redecorating and making the place our own. Although a big portion of the weekend was spent putting together ikea furniture, we did managed to find some time to have a little fun!

 

Top Left: We have “happy hours” at work on most Fridays. It’s always a great way to start off the weekend and last Friday they brought in ice cream and root beer for a “Root Beer Float Happy Hour”. It was a great change of pace from the beers they usually supply.

Top Right: Movin’ Movin’ Movin’. We managed to fit our entire living and bedroom in Wyatt’s car to bring down from Chicago on Saturday.

Bottom Left: We took Sunday afternoon off and went out to the lake. Wyatt played chess with his brother and I swam in the lake with Tuko. It was a much needed break from the constant traveling we have been doing lately.

Bottom Right: And lastly, I took a quite walk to our local bookstore (Boxcar Books) and picked up some of these gems. Can’t wait to whip up a few of these recipes for my blog ASAP!

Breakfast Pizza Part 2: Blueberry Lime Pizza

June 21, 2012

And here we are…onto Part 2 of Breakfast Pizza! This one is a sweet pizza with layers of sweet crust, lime flavored cream cheese, and topped with blueberry syrup. Delicious? I’d say so!

There is something very elegant about mixing blueberry and lemon…it just feels like it would be the flavor you order at an expensive bakery or a wedding reception. But Blueberry lime? That is a whole different story! That screams “playful” to me and I immediately conger up images of laying on the beach in Key West or enjoying a waterfall picnic. Maybe that is just my skewed since of association but I’m stickin’ with it!

Blueberry Lime Breakfast Pizza

Sweet crust:

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 cup oats
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Blueberry sauce:

  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon potato starch (you can use cornstarch, as well)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 cup warm water

Lime Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon honey

 

In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and let sit for about five minutes. In a mixing bowl with a bread hook attachment, toss in the ingredients for the crust and mix on low. Once combined, turn the speed up to medium and mix for about 5 minutes or until a gooey dough forms. Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl; cover the bowl and let rise for about a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out the dough and place in a 9 inch round pan. Bake for ten minutes or until golden brown.

To make the lemon cream cheese: cream together all the ingredients with a mixer until smooth. set aside while you make the blueberry sauce so the flavors can mend together.

And for the blueberry sauce: In a small saucepan, add blueberries, honey, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. In a small bowl, combine the warm water and starch together before adding it to the simmering mixture. Then combine all and simmer for a minute or two or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

Once everything has cooled, assemble by spreading the cream cheese on top of the crust and then topping with the blueberry sauce.

Enjoy immediately with other yummy pizzas and  while relaxing on the porch!

Tuko Loves the Internet (and the Internet Loves Him)

June 20, 2012

There are a few things I wanted to talk about today so I will be forgoing a recipe for this post (Sorry everyone who was excited about Breakfast Pizza Part 2 – will have to wait until tomorrow!).

Anyhow, I wanted to point out that Tuko is getting some love on Best Bully Sticks today! It’s an all natural dog biscuit company so hop on over to check it out adorable pictures of Tuko and healthy treats for your puppies!

Also, while we are on the topic of fun links, I learned so much this morning while breezing through my blog roll that I had to share a few a few things with you!

1. Have you seen the updated Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 for what to buy organic vs what to buy conventional?  I find it super useful because, although I would love to, I just can not afford to buy organic everything so this is a great guide for deciding what is worth spending a little extra cash on.

2. Joy The Baker did a super informative post yesterday on why we use unsalted butter for baking.

3. A great tip from the kitchn on using onions in salads:

Soaking onions in ice water for 10 or 15 minutes mellows out the flavor to take that sharp edge, and accompanying aftertaste, out of the picture. It’s a trick restaurants use, and you can achieve the same results, too.

Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday and see you tomorrow for part 2 of Breakfast Pizzas!

Breakfast Pizza Part 1: Savory Breakfast Pizza

June 19, 2012

I made a breakfast pizza “buffet” last night for dinner. I use this term “buffet” lightly because really…it was only 2 pizzas (a savory and a sweet) but that is a lot of pizza for two of us! I had spotted the original concept for this recipe on Smitten Kitchen months ago and knew I had to try it…eggs on a pizza, who would have thought? But the idea of mixing two of the best things (breakfast AND pizza) was just too tempting not to play with.

I had to trick Wyatt with this dish. We are a pizza-loving house and he wants to go out for pizza at least once a week. Once a week! I’ve tried to rationalize it by loading the pizzas with mounds of veggies but he finally complained that I put too much on them and now just insists on cheese. Never will you meet a couple that fights so much over pizza toppings! So, of course, you can only imagine the look on his face on Sunday night when he asked what I was making and I replied with pizza dough. Let’s just say it started out as a big grin then quickly turned into a suspicious glare and ended in the question “What are you putting on top of this pizza?”. I told him “breakfast. Mostly eggs”. He must have assumed this was a joke because it was dropped and the look on his mortified face when I cracked three eggs over the pizza dough the next day was absolutely priceless.

Luckily, he was hungry enough to eat whatever I put in front of him and not only did he eat one piece with egg on it, but he ate three! It was just that good! Imagine a delicious pizza crust as the toast and then lathered between the toast and egg is a layer of gooey cheese and spices. How can that be bad?

I also made a delicious blueberry lime pizza but you will have to wait until tomorrow for that recipe!

Savory Breakfast Pizza

Simple pizza dough:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon active yeast
  • 3 cups + 1 Tablespoon warm water

And for the toppings:

The night before: Whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Slowly add in the warm water and mix until just combined. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the mixture and knead until everything is incorporated (this shouldn’t take more than a minute or two). Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a rag. Let sit overnight so that the yeast can do its thing and double in size.

Once ready to make the pizza, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Divide the dough in half and either roll out two pizzas or save one of the halves for another night (you can wrap it up and stick it in the fridge for another day). Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface until it’s the desired thickness you’d like (it will rise a bit in the oven but not much). Set aside to let the dough rise slightly while you prepare the toppings. Also, note that a lot of people claim you should not use a rolling pin to stretch pizza dough because of the air pockets but I have never had problems with the dough not coming out delicious so do whatever you are comfortable with.

In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the fakin’ bacon and cook on each side for about 3 minutes or until it becomes crispy. Remove from heat and slice into little chunks.

Spread a tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the pizza dough and then layer on the mozzarella, tomatoes, bacon, and basil. Finally, crack the eggs and place in four different spots on the pizza. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, checking periodically. Depending on how you like your eggs is how long you will want to cook it- it you like the yolk running then take it out much soon than if you like them hard (just make sure the white parts are for sure cooked before removing!).

Serve with a strong bloody Mary or tequila sunrise.

Moody Monday: Paint Party

June 18, 2012

Well, I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend filled with a surplus of delicious food and play time in the sun. Although my weekends usually consist of a great deal of both those, I actually had a very different type of productive weekend. We received the keys to our new house on Friday which meant all weekend was spent painting and cleaning. Painting is not something I do often and I was surprised to find it rather therapeutic and very satisfying.

The house is exactly what we had wanted. A two bedroom (an extra room for our art studio), a large and fenced in backyard for Tuko, high ceilings and within walking distance to our favorite co-op grocery store. There were, however, some drawbacks – like the hideous dark feather painted walls and the rusted bath tub (with no shower extension?!? I guess the house was built in 1933…); we decided it would be best to tackle these problems before we started actually moving our things in. We managed to pick up some beers, crank up the local classic rock station, and crank out painting three rooms in 2 days. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself.

As for what’s left? We just need to do the kitchen and we’ll be ready to move in! Do I see an Ikea trip in my near future? I think so!

 

Pictured Above: A light mint in the living room to go with these funky 70′s chairs that Wyatt insisted on getting. Checkered tile in the sun room- can’t wait to add some plants for an accent of green. Bedroom has managed to only be filled with my dresser and typewriter. And lastly, Tuko’s new playground (AKA our backyard).

 

I ended the weekend with a corona and some light reading. I HIGHLY recommend Make Your Place for all you DIY (and Zine) lovers out there! Next up? Can’t wait to dig into Barefoot & In The Kitchen and Homesweet Homegrown!

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadilla

June 14, 2012

So I wanted to talk to you guys about this ‘Food is the New Rock’ podcast. I’m not sure if you are into podcasts but I’ve come to enjoy listening to them while I workout or am laying in my sun-room. I’ve become super into this specific podcast that mixes food and rock music…they show all the similarities and talk a lot about how the two are connected (and then interview chefs about music and musicians about food). This concept is sooooo fantastic for me because I obviously am super into food (having a foodblog and all) but my day job is working at an indie record label distributor…match made in heaven? I think so. If you’re into this sort of thing, I highly recommend checking it out here.

Ah yes, back to recipes! I’m not really sure where this goat cheese and black bean combination came about but I highly approve. I remember my old (old) roommate use to make a similar (and absolutely delicious) taco when I lived with her a years ago. Then I ran across a recipe with the black bean/goat cheese combo a couple of days back which sparked my memory for these ‘dillas. I had remembered really enjoying them but I think my love affair for goat cheese has grown even stronger in the last 3 years; this means these were even more mouthwatering-awesome them I remember.

Since I’ve been trying to use up what is in my pantry/fridge (moving begins TOMORROW), I tweaked this recipe to what I had on hand. I used the leftover chevre from the Veggie Polenta Lasagna and the kick of spice from the jalapeno was tamed perfectly from the smooth cheese. Can’t wait to make these again with some Beergaritas!

 

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadilla

Makes 2 ‘dillas
  • I can (15 ounce) of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 ounces of chevre or goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 4 large tortillas (or 8 small)
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • salt/pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking

Spread half the cheeses on a tortilla. Top with half the beans, corn, jalapeno and cilantro and then place another tortilla on top. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a dollop of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium. Cook the tortillas on each side for about 5 minutes (or until they start to brown).

Serve warm while the cheese is gooey!

 

 

Berry Mango Yogurt Popsicles

June 12, 2012

Okay, I did it. I’m sorry but I totally jumped on the popsicle bandwagon. I realize there are currently 10 billion popsicle recipes circulating the blog world right now but I wanted to add my two cents on the conversation, oookkay?

To be completely honest, what I REALLY wanted this summer was a turquoise ice cream maker to whip up this vegan Salted Caramel Pretzel treat but my boyfriend forbid it; he claimed it would end up in the pile of other specialty kitchen tools (like miniature pie molds, 500 cookie cutters, winter thermos picnic set, donut pan, etc) that we only pull out once or twice a year (although- I love having ALL of these things, thank you very much).

Anyways, I compromised on these popsicle molds because not only are they smaller and cheaper but you can make sooo many healthy summer treats with them! I actually picked them up with the gift card that BakerInRecovery (Formerly Baker Bettie) sent more for my cookie recipe.

Anyhow, I figure since I eat greek yogurt every morning anyways, why not make a popsicle out of it so I have an excuse to eat dessert for breakfast? It’s genius, really! And on top of that, they turned out delicious and I have no guilt at all knowing all the healthy ingredients that goes into them. Mmm! Cannot wait to experiment with other flavors this summer!

Berry Mango Yogurt Popsicles

  • 1 mango, peeled and cut off the pit
  • 1 banana
  • 5 large strawberries, washed and tops cut off
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used coconut flavored but feel free to use whatever)

In a blender, mix all ingredients until well combined. Taste and add more honey if it’s not sweet enough for you.

Pour into popsicle molds and let freeze for 3 to 4 hours.

Enjoy on the humid porch watching the sunset or on your way to work for a delicious breakfast!

Moody Monday: Pool Party Weekend

June 11, 2012

Monday, I cannot believe you are here again already! I feel as though I am starting off the week on an off note because we did not get back from our weekend trip until late last night and I am not prepared for the week. However, this is okay because we had a great time at my parent’s house and going into Chicago for my brother’s graduation.

This week is going to be crazy busy with my etsy shop finally getting rolling, packing, Tuko getting neutered, and more packing. We are (!!!) finally moving into our new house on Friday which means several things for VV:

1. there should be some VERY interesting recipes within the next few days while I attempt to use up what we have in our pantry so we will have less to move into our new place

2. Things may be slow around here (hopefully not) recipe wise as I transition into my new kitchen. However, that may mean posts will be substituted with fun glimpses into our moving/decorating process…which could also be exciting!

Anyhow, hopefully memories of an awesome weekend by the pool (with blueberry cocktails and my amazing family) and having our new home to look forward to will get me through this week!

 

Oh and here is an adorable music video to get you through your morning!

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Weekend Adventure // What’s In My Bag?

June 8, 2012

Hey everyone! Hope that you are having a fantastic friday and getting geared up for the weekend. We are going on ANOTHER weekend trip to Chicago which means pool day tomorrow, sunsets at Lake Michigan, and adventuring in the city on Sunday!

The only drawback to this is that we have to drive 4 hours North first. Luckily, I have my travel bag packed full of supplies! Although this includes cards, CD mixes, and magazines..I will only show you a glimpse of the snacks I am bringing (hey…this is a FOOD blog, after all).

1. Primal Strips. These things are my FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE snack food. They are so freaking delicious! It’s like having teriyaki flavored beef jerky without all those gross thoughts about ‘what really is beef jerky?‘. They come in a variety of flavors (and other brands but none that I have found with as much flavor and appealing texture). This hits my savory craving every time.

2. Hummus! It’s the perfect snack for summer because it’s relatively healthy and very fillings without making you feel bloated. And the variety of flavors are endless!

3. Although I prefer my hummus with warmed pita, unless you are willing to stick the pita on your dashboard to heat up, these pita chips are a pretty darn good substitute. They are super crispy and contrast the smooooooth hummus perfectly.

5. Can’t have all this savory without a bit of sweet! We packed some Pocky for our sweet treat but that is sometimes substituted with homemade muffins or cookies (depending on how much time we have before-hand).

And we’re off! Hope everyone has a wonderfully delicious weekend and we’ll see you Monday!